DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – One person is dead after a plane crashed in a field near a shopping center in Douglas County.
The plane crashed in a grassy area in Highlands Ranch near Lucent Boulevard and C-470 around 2:40 p.m.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s office confirmed that one person was on board, the pilot, and that he did not survive the crash.
Michelle Morley was one of several witnesses who watched as the small experimental plane went down.
“It just nose dived and it just blew up. There was a big fire burst ball,” said Morley.
She was one of many who rushed to the scene ready to help.
“Everybody started running into the field and I pulled up and started helping people in,” said Morley.
Employees from a nearby car wash were already on site using a fire extinguisher and shovels to try and put out the flames.
Ten-year-old Parker Teague and his mother were at the car wash when those men left to help.
“The guy he told us ‘oh my gosh a plane just crashed’ and he pointed and I looked and there was a plane on fire,” said Teague.
Authorities are trying to figure out exactly what kind of plane it was and what happened.
“It’s obviously populated over here there is a residential area business in the area. We are fortunate he was able to land in this area,” said Douglas County Sheriff Chad Teller.
Witnesses are calling the pilot a hero and say that it seems like he did everything he could to make it to the field and avoid colliding with any of the nearby businesses.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are both investigating this crash to figure out what caused the plane to go down.
It could be a week or longer before they will know what happened.